Should I choose commercial roof replacement or restoration?

flat white roofing system

What is a roof restoration?

Owning a commercial structure has a lot of responsibilities, whether you operate the business that is contained in it or lease it to another company.  Either way, there is the mortgage and insurance, the maintenance and upkeep, the utilities and more.  This all adds up to a lot of money over time, so when it comes to roofing the structure, a roof restoration is often the more appealing option. 

Roof restoration is the process of cleaning, repairing, and repainting a roof instead of replacing the roof with all new roofing materials. This process is cheaper than replacement and extends the lifespan of the roof.

Roof restoration is not the same as a roof repair. A roof repair is the process of fixing one or two small issues and is less expensive than a roof restoration. A roof restoration is covering the entire roof with a roof coating. If a commercial building has a roof that is near its end-of-life, a roof restoration will add to that life it has left while sealing any cracks and holes that could begin leaking. 

How long does a roof restoration last?

The normal life expectancy of a commercial roof is 15 to 20 years, depending on the type of membrane material used and the environment the building is located. A roof restoration  installed by a contractor that knows how to commercial roof restoration application, will give that exiting roof another 15 years with proper maintenance and upkeep. 

Most commercial roofers offer a 10 year warranty of a roof restoration. This is something you want to clarify with each roof restoration quote you get and have that warranty put in writing. 

What is the best commercial roofing material?

There are different forms of commercial roofing so that they fit the needs of the structure they are installed on and within the owner’s budget. The kind of roof chosen for a commercial building will have a vital role in the structure’s overall health as well as the roof’s lifespan.

Things that can affect a commercial roof are like a residential roof. The surrounding environment and the climate, weather, and other variables such as critters and foliage. Other important factors that impact a commercial roof’s integrity and lifespan is the owner’s diligence of maintenance and upkeep, like roof restoration and repairs. 

Here we offer a list of three of the most common commercial roofing materials used today for flat or low sloping roofs:

BUILT-UP ROOFING MEMBRANE – aka a BUR and is the tar-n-gravel roof that most of us recognize. It is made with layers or piles of materials and can be limited to what the owner can budget. It is a flexible roof that is durable and is a cost-effective way to roof a low-slope commercial roofing system.

METAL ROOFING – a popular choice for commercial structures because of the variety of metals that can be used:

  • Aggregates including aluminum, silicon-coated steel, zinc
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Corrugated galvanized steel
  • Lead
  • Metal tile sheets
  • Stainless steel
  • Stone-coated steel
  • Tin

Because metal is vulnerable to rusting, a protective surface layer is added to manage and minimize any damage from environmental and sunlight exposure. Metal roofing today is an attractive roofing that can match any architectural style. When budgeting and durability are key factors for the building owner, metal is the best choice. A fire resistant material that helps with insurance costs and is a sustainable material too. 

MODIFIED BITUMEN ROOFING  – the reinforced roof fabrics used for this type of roof are the carriers for bitumen. It is cut later when installed, much like the above described BUR roofing membrane. Fastened as two-ply system and then adhered to the roofing deck, providing protection and stability. A simple roofing for maintenance purpose, needing cleaning and inspection annually. Great for roof that have heavy foot traffic. 

Does roof coating stop leaks?

Yes, a silicone roof coating seals up existing areas that are leaking without having to inspect the roof and identify each questionable area. It is always best to have the same commercial roofing contractor install the roof coating and perform the roof restoration if possible. If it isn’t possible, using an experienced commercial roofing contractor is the best policy and have a written warranty in hand should you need it later. 

How do you repair a commercial roof?

When comes to budget, a roof restoration vs roof replacement roof restoration is cheaper than a new roof, but a commercial roof restoration cost more than roof repairs.  If the budget can only afford repairs at this time, that is better than ignoring the issue and allowing the roof to rot. 

Roof repairs are done by scrapping off the areas needing repairs, and the immediate area around them.  Clean the area well then apply a thick coating of roof cement and smooth out any unevenness. This can be done on any cracks or holes that could be possible roof leaks. 

flat black roofing system

What are the types of commercial roof restoration? 

When to comes to roof restoration material, the popular choice by roofing contractors is an elastomeric coating. It has proven to be an efficient material and can be applied in different methods based on the determining factors like the roof construction, roof type, the chemistry of the existing roof with the elastomeric coating, and the time of year. 

The ownership of a commercial structure is a major expense and an investment that should be taken care of properly. Roof restoration is one of the best ways to handle an aging roof on the less expensive side of owning a commercial structure. Call 412-256-8050 today for roof restoration in Pittsburgh, PA.

Can snow damage my commercial roof?

snow on a commercial roofing system

Snow wear on roofing

We hear and see stories about ice, snow, and wind damage to homes, but not much about commercial roof repair for those things. If you think about  it though, a commercial roof is subjected to as much weather damage as a residential roof, even more so maybe because of their size. Commercial roof repair from weather related incidents can be expensive and the building owners have the same concerns as a homeowner does about their roof. 

How is snow on roof bad for a commercial roof? Roof on a commercial structure can create just as many dangers as it does for a homeowner. A business has to keep their sidewalks and  walkways clear of snow and ice for their employees, clients, and visitors to come and go safely, and the same for their commercial roofing. Keeping the snow and ice cleared off so that icicles don’t form on the roof edge, crack, and hit anyone walking by.

Part of a commercial building owner is having their roof cleared as the snow accumulates, but how much snow can roof hold before commercial roof repair is needed? How much snow is too much snow for a commercial building? It depends. Commercial roofing can typically hold up to sixty pounds per square foot of ice and snow, depending on the condition of the roof  and the slope of the roof.  

How much snow on roof is dangerous?

In the far north east, even here in Pennsylvania, it isn’t unusual to get as much as six to seven feet of snow some winters. Anything more than 3 feet high of snow starts to become a concern. Yes, that much snow is posing a dangerous situation with frozen gutters, ice dams, and ice covered roof drainage, creating a need for commercial roof repair before the snow melts.

 Among residential properties, there are commercial structures getting damaged rooftops and the commercial roof repair business picks up just as much as the residential roof repair business. So, may businesses hire somebody, or have their own janitorial staff start clearing snow off their rooftops – bus should they? 

Should you remove snow from roof?

According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the attempt to remove snow from a commercial roof can be dangerous. It can create a risk for the person(s) removing the snow and it can also be dangerous to the roof itself, creating emergency commercial roof repair needs. 

Just as the question earlier “How much snow is too much snow?”, and the answer was, “It depends.”, the same answer applies to how much snow can safely be removed? Again the roof construction, shape, slope, and stability can all factor into how much snow should be removed.  The previous maintenance can factor into that equation too and any previous commercial roof repairs that has been done. Experts and FEMA have recommended leaving at least two foot of snow when removing it, but keep any icicles formed knocked off. 

Does snow on roof insulate a property?

Probably seems like a silly question, “Is snow on roof good or bad insulation?”, and the answer may surprise you.  A  blanket of snow can have some insulating effects on a roof. Yes, there can be too much, it can cause more problems when it begins to melt, like snow on roof causing leaks that leads to commercial roof repair jobs, and the refreezing and ice dams, etc., etc. 

So, yes, if there is too much snow, you need to have it removed. As we stated earlier though, FEMA recommends leaving approximately two foot of snow. Why? First reason is to minimize the possible damage that could be done, requiring expensive and extensive commercial roof repair or even replacement. Second reason, it is providing some type of insulation for the building and keeping heat inside. 

melted snow on a flat roof

Does insurance cover ice damage to roof?

Just like homeowner’s insurance, business property insurance policies are all different and each have variances.  Some information we did find out, and you’ll want to check with your own policy to confirm this applies to you, a property that is insured under “Causes of Loss—Basic .Form”, there is coverage for  named perils. Only the perils that are specifically included in this basic form are covered, and the damage or loss must have be caused directly by one of those named perils. Hail and windstorm are usually listed as one of those perils. 

Excluded from coverage for a property with Broad Form Causes of Loss, are any damages caused by hail or windstorm from any of the following: 

  • Cold weather or Frost,
  • Ice (not hail), sleet, or snow wind driven or not,
  • Damage or loss to the building interior or  exterior property caused by dust, rain, sand, or snow.

How long should a commercial roof last? When a commercial roof was professionally installed and has been maintained properly, the average lifespan can be between ten years to forty years. The lifespan can vary based on the climate and the roofing materials used. Need help with commercial roof repair in Pittsburgh, PA? Call 412-256-8050 today.

Is a Standing Seam Metal Roof Good?

standing seam metal

What’s the difference between standing seam vs corrugated metal roofs?

Let’s start this article off by answering a question many people ask when they aren’t well informed about commercial roofing: What is a standing seam roof? A standing seam roof is a durable and maintenance-free metal roof common on commercial structures consisting of vertical panels, a seam on each side that stand up vertically, thus the “standing seam” name. . 

The roofing panels of a standing seam roof can be constructed with a variety of radius profiles, a popular choice for structures with numerous roof levels. Once a standing seam roof is installed, it has shadow lines that run endlessly from the eave to the ridge, with an accent on every roof angle’s pitch and plane. 

Metal roofs have become the ultimate solution in roofing today for commercial and residential properties. When it comes to design, standing seam vs asphalt shingles, metal standing seam roofs can meet or beat asphalt shingles today. 

What about Standing seam vs corrugated metal, which is the better choice? Either one is a good product, both beat out the standard asphalt shingle roofing material, but of the two, a standing seam metal roof is the superior choice for three reasons: 

  • Appearance and Design: It is common confusion for many when they hear corrugated metal roofing. To help clarify, corrugated is anything with alternate grooves and ridges, such as  corrugated box. When using the word corrugated in conjunction with metal roofing, it is referring to the interlocking ripples of the metal sheets. So, what is a standing seam metal roof then? It is interlocking metal panels with raised seams running from the ridge to the eaves. The design and texture are better for shedding snow and water and is recommended for low-pitched roofing.
  • Fastening: Both roofs offer different aesthetics, and both have different systems of fastening. The standing seam roof fastening is more reliable than the interlocking system of corrugated metal roofing which is fastened to the roof sheathing. A standing seam roof is installed and fastened above the surface with the screws concealed and protected by the surface. This creates a streamlined look with material that is durable and thicker than the corrugate metal. 
  • Durability: Corrugated metal roofing isn’t able to accommodate flashed brackets, the fasteners are exposed and become loose in ten years. This increase the need for maintenance compared to a standing seam roof.  With concealed fasteners that are protected by the standing seams, water is able to run off better, less chance of leaking, lifting up, or rusting.                    

Is standing seam roof worth the money?

In general, a standing seam roof is going to be more expensive at installation compared to asphalt or corrugated metal. However, the pros and cons of a standing seam roof will justify the expense later. 

  • A standing seam roof has little to no maintenance required, and with better insulation and a watertight sealing, it offers a lifespan expectancy of over 50 years.
  • The metal used for a standing seam roof is thicker with each panel created identical yet independently. 
  • An individually-reinforced standing seam roof is easier to install because they are lighter.
  • The raised edges that hide the fastening on a standing seam roof makes a better curb appeal for the structure. 

Are metal roofs good?

Roofing shingles made from asphalt, clay, slate, or tile have a life span of fifty years with average care and upkeep. Their surfaces are affected by season changes, which requires they be power-washed or swept on a frequent basis to extend their lifespan. 

Contractors and roofing experts recommend a metal roof if the budget can afford it because of the durability in various climates. The most a metal roof may need is recoating versus re-roofing as required by other roofing materials. 

Metal roofing on building

Is there a tax credit for installing a metal roof?

At this time, there is no research finding that a commercial structure has any tax benefits to having a metal roof installed. The contractor you choose to work with can confirm this for you, and if it is tax deductible, they will have the certificate or form for you to include with your tax filing. 

This article on stand seam roof has been focused on commercial structures, but more homeowners are seeing the benefits of having one installed on their home. There are two things they are concerned with when they are considering a standing seam roof, with one being the noise.  A metal standing seam roof that is installed correctly with insulation won’t have the loud noise level that the old barn in your granddads pasture did. 

The other frequent questions roofing contractors are asked is, “Does a metal roof make your house hotter?”, and again, it is all based on proper installation and insulation. A metal roof will reflect the sun’s UV rays instead of absorbing the heat, radiating it into your home. Overall, a metal roof is a smart investment for any commercial or residential property owner. Call 412-256-8050 today for your standing seam metal roof in Pittsburgh, PA.

Single Ply Roofing Materials

inox chimney on the flat roof in the city

Learn More About Single Ply Roofing

If you’re in the market for creating a more sustainable and durable roofing condition for your flat or commercial roof consider single ply roofing materials. There are a number of options that will best be able to match with your roof so that you can enjoy a flexible, cool and well protected roof that will be able to protect from changing weather and daily conditions. Ultimately it’s best to do your research and find out more about single ply roofing. A professional roofing company can best confer with you about your options, until then here is some general background information regarding single ply roofing that may prove useful to you.

What is single ply roofing?

Single ply roofing are roofing materials that are specially made for low sloping or flat roofs. They have prefabricated detailing accessories which makes installation easier with wide width sheeting. They have fewer seams than asphaltic rolled roof systems and won’t require any torching or hot asphalt for installation.

What are flat roofs called?

Flat roofs are also known as low-slope roofs and are commonly found with commercial properties around the world. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association a low-slipe roof is defined as having a slope of 3-12 inches of less. 

Which roof type would a single ply roof membrane be installed on?

Single ply roofing is ideal for low sloped and flat roofs. Mechanically fastened single ply roofing can be used on all types of slopes without limitations and are preferred for hurricane prone areas. 

What is single ply membrane made of? 

Single ply roofing can be made of a variety of materials yet is predominately composed of synthetic polymer. These roofing materials make the membrane flexible yet strong. Single ply roofing can range in thickness from 1.1mm to +2mm. While some products are homogenous others are reinforced with glass fiber or polyester depending on the application.

inox chimney on the flat roof in the city

Types of Single-Ply Roofing

  • Thermoplastics: 
    • TPO Roofing Systems
    • PVC Roofing Systems 
  • Thermosets:
    • EPDM Roofing Systems
  • Vulcanized Roofing

What is the difference between TPO and EPDM roofing?

With single ply roofing, the difference between TPO and EPDM roofing are as follows. EPDM  will have a dark surface while TPO will have lighter colors. TPO will therefore be ideal for cooling the building down as it will reflect sunlight allowing commercial HVAC systems to work less and use less energy. TPO will also have a higher resistance to punctures than EPDM.

Do you need ventilation with breathable membrane?

Breather membranes are installed on the outer side of insulation over or under the counter battens on a pitched roof. They allow water vapor to escape from inside a building. This often means there won’t be a need for ventilation. 

How do flat roofs drain water?

A flat roof will be able to drain water with an interior system of pipes which can be found below the roof in order to carry water away from the foundation. Drains are placed in the center of the roof typically and the pipe system is protected by the roof and walls of the building which lowers the pipes’ risk of cracking, bursting, or freezing. 

What is the best way to stop a flat roof from leaking?

The best way to stop a flat roof from leaking is to have a rubber membrane or roof coating applied to the roof. A flexible membrane will prevent any punctures from forming and thereby any leaks. A roof coating can repair minor issues with your roof including covering leaks of a certain size.

How long does single ply roofing last?

Single ply roofing materials will last longer if properly installed and maintained at around 30 years. It’s important to conduct yearly inspections to make sure there aren’t any problems with water pooling, too much debris covering the roof, punctures, cracks, leaks an other issues that may befall your roof. With a yearly inspection you may be able to catch problems in their minor stages before they escalate to larger issues. That way you can get spot repairs and have your roof be able to reach the end of its natural roof life before full on replacements become necessary.

Contact a Qualified Roofing Company About Single Ply Roofing 

If you have an interest in single ply roofing get into contact with a knowledgeable roofer connected with a reputable roofing company. They’ll best be able to go over the requirements your commercial building will need when it comes to single ply roofing installations. Depending on your property specifications and the area where your property is located some options may be more recommended over others. A certified roofer will be able to make sure all conditions meet with city codes and that all weight is supported with your roofing membrane. Single ply roofing is a great way to ensure flexibility and support to your roofing system. Call your local roofer today to get started.

To get set up with single ply roofing in Pittsburgh, PA call Great Lakes Commercial Roofing at 412-256-8050 today! 

Should I Invest in a Metal Roof?

metal roofing green

Are you looking at getting a new roof on your commercial property?

Confusing choices to make, isn’t it? BUR, Modified BUR, EPDM, PVC, TPO, and now many talks about a “Green” roof, meaning a garden roof. All of these have benefits and useful features about them, but what about commercial aluminum roofing? Why aluminum roofing? Or maybe the question should be, why not aluminum roofing? Before you jump on the wagon of the more traditional EPDM, PVC, or TPO commercial roofing materials, let’s talk about aluminum roofing installation. Find out why it is becoming a number one choice for more commercial building owners today as we answer a few questions.

Metal roofing is a dependable and durable material for any structure, commercial or residential, and aluminum roofing. Aluminum roofing has gained popularity in recent years, especially in coastal areas, because it is seawater resistant. Other types of metal offer the same protection, but they aren’t as resistant to the seawater air for long periods. Let’s face it, when you pay for roofing on a commercial structure, you need a long lifespan to get the ROI you need and want. A few of the other advantages that aluminum roofing provides is that it is a flexible, lightweight, and reliable material.

Are aluminum roofs good?

In general, metal roofing systems are a popular choice for commercial structure roofing, with aluminum being the most popular of them. It has a lifespan expectancy of thirty years or longer, it is lightweight and has a high reflectivity, which is excellent for areas where the summer sun can heat a building quickly. For commercial structures on coastlines where the sea air can be an issue for metal, aluminum roofing is resistant. 

The Washington Monument cap was the first time aluminum roofing was used in 1865 when aluminum was separated from bauxite to manufacture one of the building grade types. 

Today, all-aluminum roofing systems are pre-painted and comes in almost any profile. Aluminum roofing is mostly made from recycled material today, between 90% to 95% is used beverage cans. These are reasons that make aluminum roofing one of the best green roofs for a commercial structure.  

Which metal roof is best?

Metal roofing systems are a popular choice for commercial building roofing material and have been for the last fifty years or longer.  The location of the building can determine the choice of which metal roofing material is the best. 

  • Aluminum 
  • Copper
  • Corrugated galvanized steel
  • Metal Sheets
  • Stainless Steel
  • Standing Seam Metal
  • Blended aluminum, silicon-coated steel, and zinc

As we’ve mentioned here, aluminum roofing is a better choice for commercial structures on seaside coasts because of the better sea air resistance. 

Which is better steel or aluminum roofing? 

 When comparing steel vs aluminum roofing, both are excellent for commercial metal roofing purposes, each having their strength. The benefits that aluminum roofing can offer you for roofing a commercial structure are: 

  • Extremely resistant to corrosion  – steel is more susceptible to being damaged by seawater over time. Aluminum roofing material I warrantied for coastal areas – steel is not.
  • Aluminum is lighter weight making it more flexible – steel is heavier weight and more rigid.
  • Aluminum roofing has a better strength-to-weight ratio than steel
  • Aluminum roofing doesn’t store as much heat and cools faster than 
  • Aluminum roofing is not Class A fire-rating without proper underlayment and sheathing
Silver metal roofing

What are the problems with metal roofs? 

Metal roofing offers a commercial structure a sleek appearance while being durable. Like any roofing material though, metal roofing has its issues too: 

  • Leaking: Metal roofing is known for leaking, which is not something a commercial structure needs. The majority of the leaks in metal roofing is caused by the weather, like when it ices and then quickly thaws. As metal roofing ages, it can begin to leak at the seams, and flashing on a metal roof can be the cause of leaking. 
  • Oil Canning: Metal roofing is known to oil can or wrinkle stress, which many assume a problem with the structure. It isn’t a structural issue but a low roof installation issue.  Metal roofing needs to be installed with room for contracting and expanding, so if it is installed with too much pressure, it doesn’t flex with the temperature.  
  • Corrosion: Corrosion is a potential problem for any metal roofing. Some are better than others, like aluminum roofing. If the metal material is coated correctly, it has higher corrosion resistance, and avoid mixing different types of metals will minimize corrosion.
  • Scratches and Scuffs: The color on metal roofing will fade over time. It is easily scratched and scuffed. The manufacturer’s warranty may cover the fading issue, but scratches and scuffing are an issue the building owner or maintenance team needs to take proper precautions, like minimizing foot traffic, advising any contractor that needs access to the roofing to take precautions, etc. 

Does having a metal roof lower your insurance?

It can base on what type of metal roofing you have installed.  Steel is Class A Fire Rated in its standing; however, aluminum roofing is not Class A Fire Rated unless installed with a correct level and type of insulation. Roofing is an investment for any commercial building, and you need to go with the best material for your budget and structure.  Aluminum roofing is worth talking to your roofing contractor and doing your research before choosing one type of roofing material over another. Call 412-256-8050 today for your legal needs.

How to tell if you have a roof leak

water leaking from ceiling

How can I tell where my roof is leaking? 

What can be worse than to come into work on Monday morning and part of the roof has collapsed inside the office area, production area, or warehouse area of your business?  Maybe calling your insurance company to file a claim and they deny the claim because the collapse is from a leak that has been ignored?  Yes, that could happen which is why a commercial building owner should have commercial leak detection of the plumbing and the roof so you can stay on top of these things. 

In the years past, a visual inspection found commercial roof leaks by walking around on the flat roof looking for damage and problems. The problem with walking around on the roof can cause damage too.  Today, roofing contractors know how to do commercial leak detection without that added risk of damage, but in the meantime, you, the commercial building owner, probably have some questions about doing your own commercial leak detection on your roof so that you don’t have the scenario we set in place at the beginning. 

Your commercial building could have a roof leak right now and you may not even know it. So, the reason that a routine of inspecting the roof regularly comes into focus now.  The sooner you have a commercial leak detection, the better for your building and the budget in the long run. 

As we mentioned earlier, if the insurance company determines that the leak was in existence and ignored, your claim will be denied.  Ask your roofing contractor about a regular maintenance plan is a great commercial leak detection way to prevent those denied insurance claims. Here, we offer you a few commercial leak detection steps that will indicate you need to get a professional commercial roofing contractor on the job immediately: 

  • Ceilings or Walls Stained – No matter what type of ceiling system your commercial structure has, when there has been an extended exposure of water to the roof by way of a leaking roof, it will eventually discolor the ceilings. The same is to be said about walls that are adjacent to the ceiling where the roof is leaking.  Even worse, stained walls can also mean the roof leak has found its way down inside the walls, creating more damage.   
  • Standing water – A walk around your commercial flat roof that finds standing water would indicate the drains are clogged. The water has nowhere to go, so it ponds and puddles.
  • Alligatoring or Blistering Membrane – A flat roof membrane is only good for so many years, and after a while, it becomes aged and weathered from the UV rays and weather. They blister, bubble, and crack, then the ponding water gets in those areas and make their way to the inside.
  • Loose seams – Some flat roofs have membrane with seams. As the roof ages and becomes weathers, those seams will loosen and come apart.  This allows a place for that ponding water to enter, making its ways inside the building.
  • Holes or tears in the membrane – This can happen from high winds dropping things on the roof or from service technicians walking around on the roof.  Another reason routine inspections are recommended, allows you to catch these things and get them repaired before they become a problem.
  • Flashing damaged – High winds and temperature contracting and expanding the metal flashing around the roof of your commercial building can cause that flashing to loosen and come off. 
  • Odor and Mold – There is no better commercial leak detection for a roof than noticing a foul odor of mildew or mold in any part of the building. Moist environment grows mold and if there is roof leak, your nose can be your commercial leak detection system. Ignore the odor and that mold will keep growing, making your employees sick and keep your customers and visitors at bay.
  • Puddles In The Building – If there is water dripping from the ceiling or there are puddles in the middle of an area, that is an obvious indication you have a leak of some sort inside your commercial roof system. It isn’t necessarily a roof leak though, as it could be the HVAC or plumbing system. Having your own maintenance team do the regular inspection. Acting as a commercial leak detection system, they will know when they see an issue with the HVAC, the plumbing, or if there is a potential roof leak. From that observation, they can advise you what type of professional contractor to call and get the matter resolved quickly. 
  • Increased Energy Bills – A roof leak will allow the insulation to get saturated before it gets to the ceiling tiles. This is going to make that insulation less effective in keeping your building cool or warm as needed, and that will cause your energy bills to increase. 

What causes a leak in the roof? 

There are several possible commercial roof leak causes, many could be caught and repaired before they became a leaking problem with regular inspections by your maintenance staff or a commercial roofing contractor. Causes that a commercial leak detection find are common with commercial roofing leaks: 

  • Drainage: When a commercial roof is installed, the builder will take into consideration how it will drain. There should be multiple points of draining based on possible vulnerability like downspouts, drains, gutters, and scuppers. If these are not cleaned regularly, they can become clogged and unable to drain.  The water backs up, pond and puddles, seeping its way into the building. 
  • Penetrations: Most commercial flat roofs have penetrations for drains, gas lines, HVAC units, plumbing, vents, etc. If the boots that seal these up have become dried and worn, this create a vulnerable place for leaks. 
  • Roof Flashings: f the roof flashing that joins areas on the roof like the chimneys, interior walls, roof edges, and skylights comes loose or isn’t installed correctly, water can seep in those areas and being leaking into the building.   
  • Membrane: A commercial roof needs a membrane that is waterproof and if that membrane becomes damaged, or has gotten old and isn’t replaced, it allows water to penetrate to the inside of the building. 
  • Old Roof: A commercial flat roofing system should have a lifespan up to 20 years. This can vary based on the maintenance and upkeep of the roof, the climate, and the environment.  If your commercial building roof has reached the 15 year mark, it is time to have a professional roof inspection performed, this will include having commercial leak detection done, and they can advise you if the time has it replaced or how much more life your roof has left. 

How do I stop my roof from leaking? 

Roof leak and roof damage is not something any commercial building owner wants to deal with, but when it happens, you don’t have a choice.  If this happens, hopefully, you have the manpower and equipment to get on the roof and patch the leak temporarily with roofing tar and a piece of plywood. Using a trowel on the underside of the roof, spread the roofing tar in and around the leak. Push the piece of plywood into the tar and, using the trowel, spread more roofing tar along the edges of the wooden patch. 

water damage and shingle damage on roof

How do you repair a leaky roof? 

The roof protects your commercial building and all it contains from the exposure of the elements and that makes the roof vulnerable. When it begins leaking, your first thought may be to have it replaced, but you should also check into having it repaired with roof coating. Restoring your commercial building roof is often a perfect solution to a leaking roof and it is much less cost and time consuming. 

After reading this article, you may ask yourself, ‘How much should a roof leak repair cost?” and unfortunately, there isn’t a flat answer to this question. There are several factors involved in this price determination: 

  • Your location
  • The leak location
  • The roof type
  • The roof access, height, and pitch
  • The extent and type of damage

 Get several quotes and compare them before making a decision to repair or replace, but don’t assume the cheapest is the best, nor is the most expensive. Dial 412-256-8050 today for your leak repair in Pittsburgh, PA.

What are cool roofs made of?

black roof with ripples

What are the benefits of a cool roof?

With each and every passing day, it seems that having a cool roof is the cool thing to do. Cool roofing systems are the thing to do when building a new commercial structure and when having your commercial building re-roofed. While everyone should take responsibility in practicing sustainability, the burden lies on companies, starting with their building and their manufacturing or packing next, and a cool roof is the first step beginning with the structure. 

Cool roofing materials effectively reflect the sun’s energy and UV rays from the roof surface. The majority color of a cool roof is bright white, but there are other colors coming out on the market today. A cool roof has a high emissivity that allows them to radiate infrared energy. 

A cool roof can reduce the temperature of a roof to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which reduces the heat that is transferred inside the building through the roof. During summer months, this can assist in lowering the energy bills by keeping the attics and ducts cool. This makes for a more comfortable work environment, reduces maintenance expenses, and increase the lifespan of the roof. The biggest benefit of a cool roof is how it helps to minimize urban heat islands. 

Do Cool Roofs work?

A cool roofing systems delivers higher solar reflectance in comparison to standard roofing. A cool roof reduces the air temp, lowers the demand for power during peak hours, which can help ease possible power outages. Plant emissions power is reduced, and a higher thermal emittance. With the reduction in needed power, the emissions, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, and mercury are reduced too.

How much does roof color affect internal temperature?

Light colors will reflect the UV rays of the sun, deflecting the heat which keeps the interior cooler. Dark colors absorb the heat of the UV rays, keeping the higher the temperature on the upper part of the structure. This is where ceiling fans come in handy. A cool roof is designed to diminish heat absorbed in the roof and can lower the temperature of the interior by 50 degrees.

What color roof is the coolest?

Dark colored roofs can make a 95 degree day feel like 150 degrees on the roof, and that heat penetrates to the interior. A dark roof only reflects around 20 degrees of the UV rays. This is why a cool roof is traditionally white, which reflects over 50 percent of the heat generated by UV rays. An additional benefit of the lighter cool roof is the energy savings by taking less work off the HVAC system. 

cool roofing system

Additional Information on a Cool Roof

As a business owner and a commercial building owner, you need to save money everywhere you can, and the wrong roofing type can cost you money. With the wrong type of roofing, the HVAC system works harder and keeps your employees at the boiling point too. A quote by a cool roofing company could explain your cool roofing options available that can help ease the heat and cool your building.

One option for a commercial building owner is to paint the existing roof white. This is an inexpensive way to create a cool roof when the budget isn’t ready for a longer term cool roof situation. The white pain will reflect the sun’s UV rays and the heat that generates. Can you use another color, as long as it is a “light” color? You can, but it won’t reflect the same amount of UV rays and heat. 

So, why go to the expenses and time to have a cool roof? Here, we list 7 cool roofing uses that can help you justify this project:     

  • Moisture Control: Cool roof surface are susceptible to algae and mold growth in moist, warm climates. With proper roof coating applied by an experienced professional, this issue is eliminated. 
  • Easy Installation: Another reason why you need to hire an experienced professional roofing contractor to install and apply your cool roof. They can be able to apply a cool roof to almost any existing roof. 
  • Cost-Efficient: Installing a new roof is expensive and it likely won’t help with energy costs, unless you have a cool roof installed. For a few more dollars, installing a cool roof, you’ll get your investment money back in energy savings. 
  • Energy-Efficient: As a business owner, your company is under fire for emissions control and going green where possible. An energy-efficient cool roof will lower the emissions from your business while reducing the carbon footprint too. 
  • Extended Life Span: By installing a cool roof, it will deflect heat and prolong the roof’s life because it minimizes heat damage. 
  • Urban Heat Reduction: A cool roof reduces the excess urban island heat, a big concern in metropolitan areas. 
  • Improve Comfort and Health: With a cool roof, your building will be cooler, and this will make for happier and healthier employees, and comfortable customers that aren’t in a hurry to leave.

Cool roofing can provide your business with energy efficiency during those hot months. Call 412-256-8050 today for cool roofing information and installation in Pittsburgh, PA.

What is Involved in Roof Restoration?

roof restoration

What is a Roof Restoration?

Commercial business owners often understand that roof restoration is the eventual services a company will need to keep their roof in good condition. Because general weather patterns naturally break down roofs over time, you will want to know what goes into a roof restoration so that you can remain informed when the need roles around for your business at some point in the future. When you need it, you should expect such roofing services in a restoration like:

  • Minor maintenance and repairs on your roof 
  • Cleaning of the overall surface area
  • Repainting 
  • Application of coating meant to enhance the roof 

Roof restoration should not be confused with replacement or repair. Replacement is as it sounds, a full replacement of the roof because it is either too old or has sustained extensive damages. Repairs meanwhile focus on a specific problem on your roof and solve issues on the roof that would become atrocious later on. Restoration, however, does solve minor damages but is more meant to revitalize the roof by implementing the above services. In that way, a roof restoration is designed to lengthen the lifespan of the roof. Great Lakes Commercial Roofing in Pittsburgh, PA can get you a complete commercial roof restoration offered to be done by the expert roofers that make up our professional team. Call 412-256-8050 today to schedule your appointment and restore your commercial roof.

What is the Best Commercial Roofing Material?

In a general sense, the best roofing material is dependent on the kind of business it is implemented on. For roofs that have an incline, metal roofs tend to be the roof of choice that lasts the longest and takes the most from the environment. Accordingly, the superior flat roofs tend to be made from OVC, TPO, and modified bitumen. Other suggestions for both include: 

  • BUR or built-up roofing 
  • EPDM
  • PVC

Each roof respectively has its own advantages to offer the business owner while generally being more accepting of improvements over their residential counterparts. Roof restoration in this regard can be used to keep the roof of any mentioned kind going longer thanks to the materials that it is built out of. Commercial roofs are generally built up of materials that can be easily repaired and maintained in the long run. When restored, the special coating applied at the end of the service reflects sunlight and offers another layer of resistance to other weather patterns. It also applies to the parts of the roof like flashing, nails, and can serve as an easy way to patch minor leaks.

How long should a Commercial Roof Last?

When considering a roof, lifespan tends to be one of the deciding factors in the decision-making process. There is also the factor of how long things like nails, sealants, and other facets of the roof last while keeping your business safe from the elements. As it pertains to the roofs listed above, one can reasonably expect such a timespan as:

  • Metal Roof: 30 to 50 years
  • OVC: 35 years
  • TPO: 22 to 30 years
  • Modified Bitumen: 20 years
  • BUR: 15 to 20 years
  • EPDM: 20 to 30 Years
  • PVC: 20+ years

When it comes to built-up roofing, a roof tends to last up to when its granules stop being effective at which point it begins to break down and needs a restoration of its top layer. However, when it comes to metal or other slanted roofs, the nails and sealants are of particular importance. Sealant lasts a commercial business owner about ten years before needing reapplication of the coating. Both the level of the thickness the coating is applied and the weather of the area tends to play a factor in how long that pertains to. How you can catch a roof degrading in its parts, layers, or anything else is to get an inspection by an experienced roofer. We at Great Lakes Commercial Roofing can help with that.

roof restoration

Does roof coating stop leaks?

Roof coatings are often accredited in being crucial in preventing much of the damages that can occur to commercial roofs. While they are initially built to be sturdy and resistant, the coating often applied in restoration is responsible for stopping minor leaks and other complications that occur. Particularly when it comes to the flashing and nails, a fresh coating will effectively reseal these spots and keep the roof in fantastic condition. This however is not necessarily the cure-all to roof leaks. When properly done, a roof restoration will be effective to covering minor spots that may cause leaks. Whereas a roof restoration will not necessarily cover significant damages and spots to where your roof will leak. The professional roofer in charge of the roof restoration would offer where the damages are and offer services that would go about fixing each spot. When everything is done properly, a roof restoration adds a solid fifteen years to your roof and maintains it especially well with other services like inspections. Call us at Great Lakes Commercial Roofing in Pittsburgh, PA by dialing 412-256-8050 today to schedule your appointment.

What Should Pennsylvania Residents Expect from Commercial Roofers?

Pennsylvania Commercial Roofer Expectations Cover

Living in Pennsylvania, no matter if it is in Pittsburgh or throughout the State, offers its own unique set of experiences and challenges.

This is especially true for commercial business owners. This is because their roofing systems need to stand up to a specific set of circumstances and need to remain durable yet flexible. Most of all, it needs to be able to do that when the weather turns and the climate gets cold, cold, cold.

Perhaps your business finds itself in need of a completely new roofing system. This can be due to damage to the old system – rips, tears, holes, leaks, and a plethora of other things – or it can just be that the current roofing system is well past its age and needs to be swapped out with a new one.

Knowing what to expect when getting a new commercial roof in Pennsylvania is important so that you can get the proper roofing system for your needs. A new roof is too large of an investment to go wrong choosing the type and this guide will be what you need to know what to expect when searching for a new roof.

Roof Size

Obviously, the first thing that you need to know is exactly how much square footage you are dealing with. If you have a larger roof, it makes sense that the installation costs will be much higher than they may have been for a smaller roofing system.

Keep this in mind if you think that replacing the roof entirely is something that needs to be done. Your budget will have to adjust for the size (and cost) of the larger roof, so it may wind up being in your best interests to go with a repair or perhaps a reinforced membrane that can go over the top.

It is also important to know the size of the roof because this is not something you can tackle a little at a time. You have to do the entirety of the roof or none of it at all. This is because not giving the entire roof the same treatment can lead to parts of the roof being more vulnerable than others to different types of wear and tear.

Roof Layout

While the size is certainly important, the layout is just as important. This is because your roof may have a number of different ridges and surfaces that need addressing. Even if you have a flat roof, there are definitely things that need to be made apparent when looking into changing out your roofing system.

If your roof is more complex – containing more ridges, vents, and other surfaces, it will take a lot more time and effort on the part of the roofing contractor to get the job done. Keep that in mind as well when determining the costs involved.

Most quality contractors will come out to your commercial property, assess the roof, and give you a quote as to what the entire process will cost. This will give you a better idea of the sort of financial undertaking that you will have facing you when replacing your current roofing system.

Roofing Materials

This is arguably the biggest determining factor in what it will cost to have your roof replaced. Depending on what you go with, the costs can be relatively low per square foot or they can be quite expensive. It all depends on the level of durability that you are looking to get out of your particular system.

Flexibility in roofing material is important as well. Flexibility is more important in an area with colder climates like East Pittsburgh because those materials will constantly expand and contract as the weather shifts. This can lead to additional wear and tear on the roofing system that can lead to earlier repairs or replacement.

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material that there is for commercial roofing. This is because the installation is relatively cheap and easy and they are able to provide reliable, sturdy, durable coverage to your roof.

Depending on the kind of asphalt roof that you go with, the seams that are in the roofing system can be completely waterproof, keeping your roof from dealing with those nasty leaks that can really become a problem for both the roof and the rest of your building.

For flat roofing, there is a modified bitumen roofing system that provides seamless installation. This keeps the water out across the entirety of the roof and limits the chances of things like puncture due to foot traffic.

Depending on the kind of bitumen roof that you get, some are even capable of offering UV resistance. This means that the sun’s rays won’t penetrate the roof, heating up your building in the process. When this is the case, it means that your building is better able to regulate its temperature without help from the HVAC system. That can run up your energy costs substantially.

Lastly, there is the option for clay tile but it is very expensive to install as in $16,000-$25,000 for 1,500 square footage. Clay is meant to last an extremely long time but the upfront investment is substantial, so keep that in mind.

As always, ask for a quote before agreeing to anything. This will give you a better idea of not only what each kind of material would cost but which roofing professionals would be the best option for finding a new roof at a cost-effective price.

Roof Pitch

Generally speaking, if you have a steeply pitched roof, the costs will be greater for the project. With a flat or low steeped roof, you’re not having to put more time into it. A steeply pitched roof is more difficult to walk if it is walkable at all and comes with a far greater cost.

There is also a higher risk when installing shingles on a steep roof because the costs will be substantially higher than a traditional low steep or flat roof. Ultimately, there are a number of factors that need to be weighed when it comes to getting your roof done and there are things that you may not have even considered along the way.

Roofing Layers

Multiple layers on a roofing structure means that multiple redundancies are in place. What does this mean, exactly? It means that should one of the layers become compromised – ripped, punctured, peeled, cracked, etc.  – that there are other layers to pick up the slack.

This means that should any of the roofing layers fail, the roof will still do its job. It is recommended that you replace that damaged or destroyed layer of roofing membrane, but it won’t require immediate or emergency attention that can lead to greater costs.

But keep in mind: the more layers there are on your roof, the higher the costs will be. This can be exacerbated if there are old layers of the roof that need to be removed in order to install the new roofing. This means higher labor costs as well as dumping fees for disposing of the old layer of roofing system.

The number of layers will likely be determined by the material that you are using and the life of the previous roof. If your area is prone to more inclement weather, it would be wise to go with something a bit stronger and longer-lasting in nature.


Labor costs can depend on a few different things. Your area will likely have several different options when it comes to roofing contractors. Keep in mind that the skill and availability of that roofer will likely dictate the cost.

Don’t immediately cheap out on labor. The old saying goes “you get what you pay for” and the cheapest possible labor can lead to subpar work that will only need to be corrected later on down the line. Keep that in line when looking at your roofing budgets.

Final Thoughts about Local Commercial Roofing

It should go without saying that your roof is essential to your commercial business. If anything goes wrong, it can not only mean a substantial cost to you to have it repaired but it can lead to service or production interruptions that can have an impact on the bottom line as well.

In Pennsylvania, where the summers are very hot and the winters very cold, it is important to make certain that your roof can stand up to the wear and tear that the changing of the seasons brings on. This is in addition to high winds and storms that may strike the area.

Your roof will go through a lot in a more inclement location like Pennsylvania. Make certain that you get the roofing system that you need to keep the weather at bay and keep you from having to replace your roof in short order.

Great Lakes Commercial Roofing has you covered. Your investment will keep your roof protected and your business humming without having to worry about what kind of damage could lay ahead. That is an important peace of mind to have.

Signs Your Commercial Roof Needs Repair

Signs Your Commercial Roof Needs Repair

When your Pittsburgh commercial building roof begins to fail, it can be either plainly obvious or so subtle that you may not initially notice it. A lack of awareness can lead to further damage to your roofing system like leaks; these leaks can spread into the rest of your building and cause further damage.

It would be more beneficial to identify these issues quickly so that you can have proper roof repairs implemented. But not being able to see those signs doesn’t change the fact that damage can be done.

So, what are some signs to look for when your Pittsburgh commercial business roof is beginning to fail and needs repairs? After all, in Pittsburgh, the weather can be quite temperamental and lead to damages of all sorts like leaks and wind damage.

Roof Bubbles

If you happen to notice bubbles or blisters on your roof during a routine inspection, it could be a sign that the roof was improperly applied. Generally speaking, these bubbles or blisters can start out subtle and become more noticeable over time.

Bubbles are usually the result of moisture that gets trapped under the roofing materials. The water eventually evaporates and the result is the formation of those bubbles or blisters across your roof.

What’s really bad about having blisters or bubbles is that they can easily allow water to eventually seep through the roof. This can cause heavy damage to the building itself, leading to more costly repairs down the line. Keep an eye out on those bubbles; quick action can mean resolving the problem without having to implement substantial repairs or, worse, a complete replacement.

Sagging Areas

Flat roofs are meant to be level and even because the roof is built to handle a certain amount of weight, both per square foot and all across the entirety of the roof. If you do notice that areas of your roof are sagging, you should call in a professional service immediately.

In Pittsburgh, the sagging of your roof can be due to a number of different factors. Accumulated moisture is probably the biggest cause, especially when snow is involved (and in Pittsburgh, it can be involved). You can help prevent sagging by clearing your roof whenever there is a buildup of moisture or snow.

There can also be an additional weight that is put on if new roofing materials are laid down over the top of the old ones. While that might seem like an easier method of installation, you should always keep in mind that the roof is constructed to handle a certain amount of weight and that roofing system will only be adding more weight to the mix.

Moisture Infiltration

This is perhaps one of the most foolproof ways to confirm that your roof is having issues. You will see signs that the interior of your building has been dealing with something like a leak because there will be water soaking into areas of the building, primarily the roof.

Some of the most common signs are things like water stains on the ceiling or perhaps water dripping down the walls in a hall or corridor. These are the most obvious of issues and may not always be there.

Sometimes it can be far more subtle things. If you notice that there is a musty, damp smell coming from the roof, that can be indicating sign that things are wrong with your roof. When you do notice these signs, it is important that you not ignore them.

Acting quickly when you notice a leak in your roof can help you get the repairs that you need to be done to extend the life of your roof and protect the rest of the building as well. Ignoring leaks can have a potentially catastrophic result, so do not ignore leaks should you notice them.

Seaming Gaps

The vast majority of roofing systems will require seams that connect the waterproof materials together over the roof’s decking. There will be times that water will be able to make its way through the seaming and manage to soak into the roof.

This means that you may have to assess the seaming of your roof to make sure that there are no gaps that could be compromised. If you do notice any gaps or aren’t sure if those gaps exist, it might be in the best interest of your roof to call in a professional.

These gaps are what give the roof its waterproof integrity and if they are compromised at any point, so too are the waterproof qualities of your roof. When this happens, your roof is much more susceptible to water damage. This means potentially costly repairs down the line that could have been avoided otherwise.

Clogged Drains

This is one sign of roof damage this is often overlooked. If you happen to notice that the volume of water coming from the exterior downspouts is not what you might expect based on the amount of water landing on your roof, this could be a sign.

Check out the roof and look for any signs that your drain is clogged or that water has been collecting on the roof. If you leave ponds of water on the roof, it will eventually lead to the deterioration of the insulation layer.

When that pooling happens, it means that the water will eventually soak into the roof itself and cause substantial damage, potentially to other areas of your commercial building. It cannot be understated: do not let water damage to accumulate on your roof because it can do substantial damage to the rest of your building.

General maintenance and bi-annual inspections can help keep those drains working optimally, keeping your roof free and clear of water buildup that can lead to serious damage.

Failed Flashings

Flashings are one of the most important components of your roof. This is because they are used to create a sealing between the areas that join your roof with other structures like a chimney or vent. Those flashings can also be used where two different roofing materials meet and the angle does not allow for the overlapping of those materials to be used as a seal.

If the flashings on your commercial roof have been poorly attached, are deteriorating, or missing entirely, it could be a clear indication that there is something wrong with your roof. Depending on the issue, it could potentially wait for a little while, but it is recommended that you don’t let it sit for too long.

Should your flashings be damaged or missing, it can lead to water infiltration. Don’t hesitate to call a professional roofing service if you do notice these things as infiltration of water can lead to substantial damage to both the roofing system and the rest of the building.

Aging Roof

While there is definitely a litany of other signs to be aware of when it comes to the health of your commercial roof, sometimes it just comes down to the simple fact that your roof is on its final legs and has seen more than its fair share of wear and tear.

It can be difficult to know precisely when your roof is too old, but if it is 25 years old or more, it’s probably a good idea to think about replacing the roofing system entirely. Even under optimal conditions, a roof will have sustained substantial wear and tear throughout the years, meaning it only has so much life left in it.

It is a good idea when purchasing a commercial building that you have the roof inspected. Even if the previous owner says that the roof is in optimal condition, an inspection will verify that assessment and ensure that your roof is working optimally.

Final Assessment

Being able to see damage to your roof is a difficult thing to do from the ground. It is never advised that you get up on your own roof as too many things can go wrong for those without the proper level of experience.

The best course of action is to call in a professional inspector to take a look at your roof at least twice a year. This will keep you on top of leaks, cracks, breaks, damaged seams, and all the other things that lead to roof damage.

Preventative maintenance is a good rule of thumb in just about any scenario but it is especially recommended when it comes to a pricey investment like a roof. If you don’t pay attention to it, the damage could occur and be allowed to persist for far too long.

Instead, invest in a couple of inspections per year so that you can stay up to date on repairs when they need to take place. This might cost a little in the short term, but it will likely save you a ton in the long run because it will keep those costly repairs at bay.

As our marketing team says, when it comes to your commercial roofing system, especially in an inclement climate like Pittsburgh, a little care can go a long way.

Call Great Lakes Commercial Roofing at 412-256-8050 for a free estimate